What was the first gig you ever attended? Mine was in 1976 at the Picketts Lock Centre in my native Edmonton. I was a brand new sixteen-year-old Christian, and the local churches were about to hold a mission with the evangelist Don Summers. In the run-up to the crusade, a concert was staged by a mainly American Christian band called Liberation Suite. Originally from Texas, they for a period of time lived out their faith in Troubles-torn Belfast. None of the money-and-luxury-grabbing lifestyle seen latter on the Contemporary Christian Music scene in some quarters for them. Here is later footage (1991) of them performing a medley of Irish Jig and Emerald Isle, their song about their heart for the people suffering in the Troubles:
They had another Irish connection. They had recruited Stephen Houston on keyboards, a Christian convert who had been playing in Irish prog-rock band Fruupp. Because of that, I had expected their music to be quite proggy. It turned out more like Chicago – not the sappy, sentimental Chicago post-If You Leave Me Now, but the brassy, earlier version.
The band had been recommended by a church youth club friend who had recently gone off to study at Surrey University in Guildford (only a few miles from where I am now). He had seen them perform there. In particular, Dave Goodwin raved about a song called Run Run Lucifer, and it became my favourite song by the band, too. Again, here’s a YouTube clip of the band performing that song (again, later – this is 1990):
Why write about this now? A few months ago, I discovered that LibSuite, as they were often known, had issued a Live In Europe CD that commemorated a gig they had played in 1976, the year I had seen them play. I ordered it from the only available source, CDBaby. However, after several weeks, they emailed me to say they could not supply it. I decided to contact the band via their website, to see whether there was any other way of obtaining it. To my great joy, drummer Randy Hill sent me a copy, and it arrived yesterday.
I’m not suggesting every LibSuite fan contacts Randy! But it was a lovely sign of a band that has always had a good heart.